Travel Tip Tuesday: Car Rental Companies and Fine Print – Who Can You Trust?

Running a bed and breakfast definitely has its perks – such as meeting interesting people, learning about new places and never having a shortage of topics for Travel Tip Tuesdays .

Not that I use our guests or anything.

But sometimes guests have specific travel-related issues that we help them sort through . And then I tell you all about it.

We recently had an amazing guest stay with us for two weeks. Born in Spain, living in Switzerland, he was here in Catanzaro visiting friends … most importantly – his girlfriend .

He rented a car through UK-based company, Holiday Autos who then contracts with reputable rental car companies throughout the world. They claim to be the only all-inclusive, pre-paid car rental agency in Europe and promise 24/7 customer service, high quality cars, full insurance coverage and the guaranteed lowest available prices.

What could be better?

Well, if they followed through on said services – THAT would be better.

Our young guest drove out to the beach one evening, spent the night at a ocean-side campfire with friends and awoke to find slits ripped through two of the tires on his rental car.

Like the responsible guy he is, he immediately phoned Maggiore, the Italian company Holiday Autos contracted for his rental.

Their conversation went more or less like this.

Maggiore: How can we help you?

Guest: I have a problem with my rental car. Someone slit two of the tires.

Maggiore: You are responsible for replacing the tires before you return the car.

Guest: Well, I purchased additional insurance, so it should be covered.

Maggiore: Yes. Well. Tires aren’t covered.

Guest: They aren’t covered? Well, what if someone steals the car? I can’t drive it.

Maggiore: Theft is covered.

Alright then.

Our honorable guest, visibly distressed over the incident collected quotes for two new tires and had resigned himself to pay the penalties.

I, on the other hand, was not so resolved.

I was furious. Not only was our guest upset at the unexpected expense, but he had lost two days of his vacation trying to resolve this issue.

Tires not covered – theft covered?

Am I missing something?

“Check with your credit card company,” I told him. “Maybe they will cover it.”

“Make sure you read the contract Maggiore gave you to double check.”

“Where did you make the reservation?”

Finally, a small light flickered in his eye.

“I rented it through a company called Holiday Autos. Maybe I can call them.”

And he did.

Within 10 minutes, he had explained the situation in his own language and Holiday Autos had resolved the issue.

“Put the charges on your credit card at Maggiore,” they told him. “We will reimburse you 100%.”

A quick Google search seems to verify the “tires aren’t covered” stance – even for American companies.

So my suggestion is this.

Next time you need a rental car, check out Holiday Autos and see if they have a car available for your area. With prices ONE HALF of what customers of other European/Italian companies have paid – what do you have to lose?

Have you even run into a road block when dealing with a rental car company? What happened? How were your problems resolved?

Until next time … Buon Viaggio!

6 Responses
  1. Oh, poor guy. Lucky for him he had you!! I had heard tires aren’t covered, which I don’t get. It’s not like you are gonna take them off the car and play with them 😉 I used AutoEurope for our laast trip, but I’ll put Holiday Autos on the list!!
    Good deal, Robin. Let me know how it goes, k?

  2. You rock, honey!
    With AutoEurope I have always had any problem solved. We once took possession of a big ole diesel car with no oil in it. I guess pranzo came just before he meant to put it in, so he just capped it and left. They paid even the taxi to the nearest pickup to get the new car and that was 35 minutes down the big road.
    Ha. That is funny. I am glad to hear AutoEurope is good, too! Thanks!

  3. I just read this post — good to know — I also hear Zipcar (U.S. based car sharing with flawless service) is expanding internationally so might be worth checking them out.
    Oooh, Zipcar? Never heard of ’em! Thanks.

  4. you have no idea how timely this is for me! we are planning our next jaunt in the bel paese & this time for the first time we need to rent a car! the link is bookmarked..thanks a bunch!!!
    Yea! So glad I could help. Be sure to let me know how it goes, ok?

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